The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it will "rapidly work toward" authorizing Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, potentially meaning Americans could start receiving it as soon as Monday or Tuesday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Good Morning America on Friday that the FDA has informed Pfizer "they do intend to proceed towards an authorization for their vaccine," and so "we should be seeing the authorization" within days. FDA officials in a statement confirmed the agency "will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization" of the vaccine.
Azar also told GMA that as a result, "We could be seeing people getting vaccinated Monday, Tuesday of next week."
This comes after an independent advisory panel on Thursday voted to recommend that the FDA provide emergency authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine. The FDA was expected to follow this recommendation. Pfizer said in November that a final analysis of its phase three trial showed the vaccine is 95 percent effective, with no "serious safety concerns" reported.
The vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech was previously approved in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Bahrain.
NEW: HHS Azar says FDA will proceed with emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine and vaccinations could come as soon as Monday or Tuesday of next week. https://t.co/v1dsjMAvCK pic.twitter.com/48CGRJRTVs
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 11, 2020